Saturday, January 15, 2011

Study: Older Workers and Their Difficulties with Unemployment

Two reports issued by the Urban Institute show that workers age 50 and older were less likely than their younger coworkers to lose their jobs but took longer to find work when they became unemployed, and that, in the decade ending in 2007, age often shielded workers from layoff because older workers generally had more seniority than their younger counterparts.

According to the first report, a Program on Retirement Policy publication--"Can Unemployed Older Workers Find Work?"--by Richard Johnson and Janice Park, workers age 50 to 61 employed in the second half of 2008 stood a 6.1% chance of losing their jobs within 16 months, compared with 9.3% for those age 25 to 34--a 34% advantage. Between mid-2008 and the end of 2009, the likelihood of finding a new job within 12 months was only 18% for laid-off workers 62 and older, half the 36% rate registered by workers 25 to 34. For workers 50 to 61, the reemployment rate was 24%.

In the companion report--"Age Differences in Job Loss, Job Search, and Reemployment," Johnson and Corina Mommaerts showed show that, in the decade ending in 2007, age often shielded workers from layoff because older workers generally had more seniority than their younger counterparts. However, men age 50 to 61 who had the same service record as men age 25 to 34 were 24% more likely to lose their jobs. Older women were just as likely to lose their jobs as younger women with similar job tenure.
"Not only can job loss have devastating consequences in the short run, but it also upends retirement savings, especially for older workers," says Johnson, who directs the Urban Institute’s Program on Retirement Policy. "Their financial security hinges on a solid employment record right up to retirement."
Source: Urban Institute Press Release (January 12, 2011)

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